By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Sunday, September 20th, 2009 at 6:43 pm in Oakland Raiders.
News, notes and observations from the Raiders’ 13-10 win over the Chiefs Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium:
– The Raiders don’t win games like this. The Raiders lose games like this.
They had reason to feel good about many aspects of their play in their Week 1 loss to the San Diego Chargers, and maybe even be a little embarrassed about how they went about their win in Week 2.
Bottom line, they’re 1-1 going into Week 3 against Denver and had every reason to get on the plane and get out of Kansas City as soon as possible to celebrate their good fortune before a replay official determined Darren McFadden hadn’t actually scored on a 5-yard run to win the game.
– By the way, that’s the “first-place” Denver Broncos coming into the Coliseum. Denver beat Cleveland easily after getting a fluke win in Week 1.
– If you want iron-clad evidence that turnover ratio is the most important stat in football, look no further than the Raiders-Chiefs game book. Chiefs 2, Raiders 0.
– The Chiefs finished with 409 yards, in part because of a Raiders offense that went three-and-out six times and kept putting them back on the field.
The Raiders, who needed 69 yards on their last drive to break 100 and finish with 166, have played 60 games since they last gained 400 yards in total offense.
Kansas City out-statted the Raiders pretty much everywhere it counted except turnovers, with the Raiders getting a pair of interceptions from Michael Huff and not turning the ball over.
It didn’t count as a turnover, but the Chiefs made a third egregious error late in the first half when Dantrell Savage was tackled inbounds by Nnamdi Asomugha with five seconds to go before halftime and the Chiefs failing to get even a field goal attempt.
– Nineteen-for-54 would be a hell of a batting average for Ichiro at .352, but it’s unacceptable for an NFL starting quarterback at 35.2 percent. Yet somehow, just as JaMarcus Russell came through with a fourth-and-14 touchdown pass against San Diego, he completed four passes on Oakland’s final drive after completing three up to that point.
Coach Tom Cable told reporters it was “as poor as you can play offensively and still win the game” but never considered changing quarterbacks.
Russell told reporters at the podium following the game he never feared getting the hook.
“I know that I am the guy. With the three and outs, that is something that we are doing to ourselves,” Russell said. “We went on the sidelines and chalked things up and tried to take it from there. I never once worried about coach taking me out.”
– At Arrowhead, Sebastian Janikowski is every bit the kicker Al Davis envisioned when he made him a first round draft pick in 2002. Once upon a time, Janikowski had his first field goal attempt (from 44 yards) blocked by the Chiefs Derrick Ransom as a rookie in 2002.
He hasn’t missed since. Janikowski is 17-for-18 on field goal attempts at Arrowhead, including conversions from 48 and 54 yards against the Chiefs Sunday. In 2007, he connected from 54 yards, last season he was good from 56. The Raiders have won each of those games.
Janikowski also forced a touchback after Darren McFadden’s 5-yard run.
– Cable said the fractured fibula suffered by left guard Gallery appeared to be similar to the one that kept Khalif Barnes out four to six weeks but conceded he didn’t yet have a definitive prognosis regarding how long Gallery would be out.
When Gallery departed, Chris Morris moved to left guard and Samson Satele played center. Cable talked during the week of having Khalif Barnes get some work at guard, although it didn’t happen. Gallery’s injury ought to hasten that development.
– Todd Watkins is in the books and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
The Raiders had reached the Chiefs 37 with a third-and-10 when Cornell Green was called for a false start, pushing them back to the 42. It was then that Russell threw a 28-yard strike to Watkins, the Raiders biggest offensive play of the game. Watkins described it afterward as “like a dream.”
Rookie Darrius Heyward-Bey also had his first catch, an 18-yard reception in the first quarter. He was targeted six times.
In two games, Russell has completed 7 of 33 passes to wide receivers.
– McFadden got to the edge and the winning touchdown, but did nothing to dispel the notion that he goes down too easily on occasion. He still hasn’t proven himself as an NFL runner who can flourish both inside and outside. Russell’s attempts at short passes to backs were at times so awful McFadden wasn’t able to produce in that area, either.
– Michael Huff, going from draft bust to defensive mainstay in the last two weeks, credited heavy film study for his big game against the Chiefs.
“It has to go back to studying film. We put in extra work this week,” Huff said. “Nnamdi is a defensive leader and he held an extra meeting for the DBs that was an hour, two hours after everybody else. He is a great leader and he had us watching film so we knew the offense well. Especially when you get pass rush from the front four, it makes playing in the secondary a lot easier.”
Chiefs running back Larry Johnson sounded a lot like the Raiders players did last week against the Chargers.
“Our spirits were so high in the last two minutes of the game and then were certainly crushed at the end,” Johnson said.
Chiefs coach Todd Haley’s interview transcription could have been utilized by any one of several Raiders coaches over the past several years.
“We’re going to have a smart team here. Nine penalties and a couple of those things don’t reflect a smart team so we’re going to get back to work,” Haley said. “We work too hard at it and put too much time into it to not. That’s what I take out of this game.”
Quotes furnished by Kansas City Chiefs public relations staff